Old Mills of Arona

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How to get

By car: from the A26 motorway, exit at Arona. From the town hall in Piazza De Filippi you can reach the Mulino di cima near Santa Maria Church.
By train: the nearest station is Arona.


The watermills of Arona are tangible evidence of one of the oldest medieval activities in our area, designed to exploit water resources. The various artificial watercourses in the town, such as the Vevera stream, were once used to convey water to the millrace which can be seen today in the fields next to Via Valle Vevera and behind the houses on Viale Bernini.

An ancient canal once ran along what is now the western side of Via San Carlo; it was covered over during the construction of the Simplon road by Napoleon, but can still be seen quite clearly. The water of this canal, which was originally built by the former Benedictine Abbey of San Felino and San Gratiniano, activated six watermills, two outside the town walls and four inside. Each mill also possessed some land and outbuildings used to keep tools and as animal sheds.

One of these mills, which you can still visit today, is the picturesque “Mulino di cima” near what is now the house of the parish priest of Santa Maria Church.

It has maintained its original structure and is still visibly a mill. There are two rooms on the ground floor; the smaller used to be the kitchen, and still has its ancient hood, while the larger room contains, on a raised platform, the two grindstones activated by the water wheel. An internal staircase led from the kitchen to the upper floor, which today is accessible only from the outside. A door opens onto the mill’s courtyard to allow access from inside the building.